An Island Thanksgiving

Expert Advice

An Island Thanksgiving

Holiday traditions are an important part of our family life. One of our traditions over the Thanksgiving holiday is adventuring to the San Juan Islands of Washington State. Our destination? West Beach Resort on Orcas Island.

We arrive at the Anacortes Ferry Landing just as the sun begins to rise. We are serious early birds this morning and our wait time in line is minimal before our ferry arrives.   While we wait, we take our pup Oliver for a walk and chat with other people who too are waiting for the ferry. It’s a beautiful morning and we are so excited to be on this trip.

As we slowly sail through the chain of emerald islands, I have to pinch myself. The beauty that surrounds us here in the Pacific Northwest is something I make sure to never take for granted. Mother Nature casts a glorious golden sunrise which makes everything seem magical.

We head up into the main cabin of the ferry where we relax, take in the views and catch up on some pertinent reading.

After we disembark the ferry we decide to make a detour and head to Doe Bay Resort for breakfast before heading to camp. As we drive along the Crow Valley Road above the green valleys of the island I am filled with pure contentment. Finally, we are back on the island and we couldn’t be happier and more relaxed. Here on Orcas you won’t find a single stop light. You are on island time, which means life is about taking it easy and savoring every moment.

We head to the Doe Bay Resort because it is home to the Doe Bay Café. There is no place like the café this time of year to enjoy a truly delectable, gourmet and one-of-a-kind breakfast. Here at the café, attention to detail is of the utmost importance in every hand crafted meal. The café sources most of its ingredients from the on-site garden such as the greens and duck eggs that we enjoy for breakfast this morning.  If you ever want to treat yourself, a visit to the Doe Bay Café is a must.

Breakfast at the Doe Bay Café: Olive Oil Poached Duck Egg, with Spicy Slow-Cooked Greens, Smoked Mushrooms, and Creamy Grits; Chevre Pecan Stuffed Brioche French Toast

After breakfast we take a walk down to the beach and explore. B is fascinated with baby Dungeness crabs and shows off his catch to us. Before we leave, we visit the garden and pick up some beautiful pumpkins to take back to camp.

After we settle into camp we get on our way to meet with Paul at Outer Island Expeditions. He’s taking us out on a three hour deep sea fishing tour in the Salish Sea in hopes of catching Ling Cod. But first, we can’t help it and we stop to drop in a crab pot or two and test our luck. The Dungeness crabs caught here in the San Juan Islands are some the biggest and sweetest crabs we have ever had. Turns out, our luck is pretty good this morning and we pull in a big male crab. We also pull in a rather large sunfish (related to the starfish) which I would imagine would be quite bothersome to the professional crabber out there. These sunfish enjoy snacking on the crab bait in the pots and when this happens, you can bet you won’t have any crabs in the pot they visit. But for us, it’s a species fascinating to observe.

Our deep sea fishing adventure with our friend Paul does not disappoint. B is the fishing star of the day and pulls in a fish called an Irish Lord that we release. A fish that we absolutely don’t release is a near 40 pound halibut B caught! Mind you, we were not expecting someone to catch a halibut since we were primarily fishing for Ling Cod, but boy did our sweet boy surprise us. This is a day B will remember forever. He was so proud.

After our fishing trip we head into the quaint seaside town of Eastsound to have a look around. It is here where one can find boutiques full of local handmade art, gourmet bakeries and a must visit, Darvill’s bookstore that has been around since the 70’s. It’s a visit to Darvill’s that I can never pass up when visiting Orcas Island.

The following morning we awake to beautiful skies. We take this day as it comes mainly relaxing and enjoying the process of cooking for Thanksgiving dinner.

When I tell people I’m roasting a Thanksgiving turkey in my trailer, they can’t believe it. I have to show them pictures and they are completely surprised! Take for example this turkey – he weighed in at 18.7 pounds. That’s right! Almost 19 pounds and look how beautiful he turned out. I was able to prepare and tend to him all while enjoying our new surroundings thanks to the RVing lifestyle. Where else can you roast a 19 pound turkey next to the sea with all of the comforts of your home?

Visiting the San Juan Islands of Washington State during the Thanksgiving holiday is a lovely tradition for our family. It is here in the islands where the non-stop outdoor adventures are plentiful and the fresh ingredients for a delicious Thanksgiving holiday are bountiful.

Do you Go RVing during the holidays? What are your family traditions? I would love to hear from you.

Before I say goodbye and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, I share with you this simple DIY. Perfect for your RV Thanksgiving table or as a decoration on the picnic table, it’s simple to make! Simply take a small pumpkin of your choice, a battery operated tea light or votive candle, a sharp paring knife, a melon ball cutter and a black sharpie.

Take the tea light or votive candle and outline the base on top of the pumpkin. Carve out an opening using a paring knife. Fine tune the edges with the melon baller and place the candle into the opening and there you have it – a perfect cute little tabletop decoration.

From my family to yours, I am wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Roast Turkey


  • 2 sticks salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 fresh turkey (15 to 18 pounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • Big sprig of thyme


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F Take the giblets out of the turkey Place the turkey in a roasting pan Gently lift up the skin of the turkey placing the butter and sprig of thyme under the skin of the breasts and legs. Drizzle the outside of the turkey with olive oil and rub in. Sprinkle with salt. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and roast for 3 hours basting every ½ hour. Remove foil and continue roasting for another hour or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Let turkey rest for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Just 5 More Minutes

Monica Bennett

Together with her husband and young son, Monica Bennett seeks out nonstop RVing adventures and culinary discoveries in the Pacific Northwest. Her travels on the road inspire her work as a photographer and writer for her blog, “Just 5 More Minutes,” where she shares her passion for cooking in her RV, demonstrates creative DIY crafting projects, and writes about mastering the art of RVing domesticity. The RVing lifestyle is Monica’s escape from her 9-5 as a graphic designer in busy corporate America.